Sunday, July 20, 2014

Adventures in Idaho

Sunset over the Payette lake

As I sit in Ottawa airport waiting for my next adventure, training on the Ottawa river for the 2015 World Championships, to begin. I have had chance to reflect on my time in Idaho since the PRG's came to an end.

Memories of an awesome event

Starting only a matter of hours after the games the fun began again and until today has not, even for a second stopped. I left the park with Jason and Jez and drove with them along the amazing Payette river pass to drop them off at the airport early Monday morning. Jez heading back to instruct at Falling Creek Kids Camp and Jason heading to Europe to the 2014 Freestyle World Cup.

Claire O and Jez (photo by Phillip Robert)

After saying goodbye to the boys. I got picked up and taken to another awesome freestyle facility. Boise city's own WWP. A man made wave designed for freestyle and river surfing. We arrived at the river to find the park busy with loads of paddlers and surfers, big crowds and a lot of media enjoying the 95 degree plus heat and sun. All out to enjoy the river and be part of the opening festival for the Phase 2 development of the park. It will soon host a number of new features and a slalom course. Its great to see so many recreational river facilities being developed across the US. Then hitching a ride with river surfing legend Eli Mack and his crew we blasted straight back to Cascade as the next morning the Kelly's Academy kicked off. The Kelly's Academy is a free coaching programme for local kids, funded by and run at the Kelly's White Water Park.

Kayak Surf Training at Kelly's

Lead by a team of professional athletes the Academy gives local kids aged 9 - 17 the chance to take part in surfing, sup'ing and kayak classes on the park. Teaching river safety and awareness as well as technical skills its great program opening up this awesome facility to the local community and giving an unbelievable opportunity to the kids. The level of coaching being delivered and the result, the awareness and standards of the kids is crazy. We had a number of local and national talented Junior rippers Hayden, Sage and Peyton helping out and it was amazing seeing them coach and inspire the other kids. Its no surprise this years PRG's had the biggest cadets class in history with over 25, 13 years old and under, kids taking part. Every day was jam packed and the kids just kept on coming back wanting to learn more and more and spent every minute possible in the river ripping it up on the rapids and waves at the park. Every adult that walked by wanted to be part of the class.

'Alec style' seal launching the kids

Trusting the young un's to do rescues

What a stunning place to learn to kayak

It was great honour and pleasure to be part of Academy team and to be able to coach alongside and learn from Clay Wright. Troy Wilson, Alec Vorhees, Eli Mack and Nicki Gregg.

Fun times coaching with this crew

Then every evening after Academy it was time for us to play. Hanging out with some awesome friends (old and new) we made the most of being in the adventure paradise that is Idaho not wasting a single moment as we took part in a whole variety of fun activities on offer. From wave surfing to hole boating freestyle, river surfing, wake boarding, wake surfing, kayak wake surfing, supping, river running,  natural pool hot tubing, cinema trips, fireworks displays, amazing meals out and even a cooking lesson with a professional Miami personal chef! I was a hard decision each night which activity to do as we didn't want to miss out. So the fun never stopped and the weeks just flew by.

Clay learning to cook

If you haven't yet tried wake surfing you should its awesome

Nikki showing me how its done

Trish ripping it up

Cold River / Hot Springs with the Banks'

Great nights out

Ice Cream Alley antics

4th July Fireworks show from the boat

Happy 4th July

More surfing this time in a boat

Beginning to dial it in

Another Epic sunset

5th July fireworks display

Only in America

Testing out healthy living

Stunning views over the lake and boats

And now 6 weeks after I arrived in Idaho I find myself in Canada with another chapter over and one more about to begin. For the next 7 weeks i'll be based on the Ottawa. Getting fit, training hard, competing in the Jimi Cup and Canada Cup, learning from others who are up here and of course from Den albeit remotely over skype this time, as he will be heading to Europe with the GB team for some European Championship action and fun. I'll also be helping to develop the next generation. I'm going to pop in and give some advice to the Keeners and help out every other paddler I can whilst i'm here.

Kayaking is awesome. The life its gives us in unbelievable. I'm so grateful to have the opportunities and I would like to once again thank everyone who has been a part of it with me and helped this dream become a reality.

Peyton (age 13)  sums up his week helping coach SUP
with SUP Pro Nikki Gregg at the Kellys Academy 

Here's some pictures and mini videos that sum up some of the action of the last few weeks.

Lincoln (age 7) ready to taking his first ever
kayaking and body boarding lesson

Thank you Idaho. I will be back :)